Ministry in last call for STEM funding hopefuls
Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
THE door is closing on pupils who are yet to register for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative as the government winds up the programme.
About $1 million has been paid for more than 4,000 students who registered for the inaugural STEM initiative.
Under the programme, the government pays full tuition fees for pupils who take Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics or Biology at A Level.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa said most schools were already over-subscribed.
“We’re now wrapping up registration since most schools that do STEM are now over-subscribed.
If there are students that haven’t registered and still wish to benefit from the initiative, they have to hurry up and register now otherwise they will lose out,” said Gandawa.
Gandawa said they were impressed with the response STEM had received and said the initiative was an eye opener for the Ministry.
“We’re very happy with the STEM initiative since it revealed quite a number of trends and dynamics in our education system which will help us reconfigure quite a number of things after our review process,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) is paying school fees and levies for STEM takers in government and mission schools across the country.
The deputy minister said as at Thursday last week, a total of 4,108 pupils had registered and had their fees paid up to the tune of $929,188,45.
Statistics released by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development indicate that Harare tops the list with 798 pupils followed by the Midlands at 573.
Manicaland, which has 559 pupils, is third with Mashonaland East in fourth position with 487 pupils.
Bulawayo has 480 pupils followed by Masvingo which has 410 pupils while Matabeleland South has 225. Matabeleland North has 130.
A total of $168,110.31 was released for pupils in Mashonaland East, $151,691.5 in Harare with Manicaland having $134,354.45 disbursed for STEM pupils.
A total of $129,147 was paid for pupils in the Midlands while Masvingo got $85,096.
Over $75,269 was paid for Bulawayo pupils while Matabeleland South got $59,163.
Mashonaland Central ($51,598.5), Mashonaland West ($41,128.19) and Matabeleland North ($33,6310 complete the disbursement tally.
The ministry has reserved $4 million for Lower Sixth pupils who register for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology at public and mission schools.
President Robert Mugabe, who is championing the STEM revolution, has said Zimbabwe must move with the rest of the world in industrialising its economy, which can only be achieved through the promotion of science and technological innovation at universities.
The Higher Education Ministry took the decision to promote science learning at A-Level to increase the number of science students universities can receive.